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  • Norman Feske avatar

    Making the MNT Reform my own


    This is the little embarrassing story of my first customization of the MNT Reform laptop that I received just two weeks ago. Continue...

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    Performance analysis made easy


    Identifying performance bottlenecks of Genode's low-level system components remains a tedious effort. For this reason, it is usually not practiced as a routine during development but only under strong pressure. Conversely, performance optimizations may be implemented without evidence for their presumed effect, increasing complexity for rather intangible benefits. Now a new utility presented in this posting comes to the rescue. Continue...

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    A C++ inlining anecdote


    During my recent work on the management component of Sculpt OS, the compile time of this particular component started to bother me. Moreover, the size of the resulting binary raised my eyebrows. So I took a closer look. Continue...

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    What's new in Sculpt OS 21.03


    The just released version 21.03 of Sculpt OS becomes resilient against several classes of driver failures, improves the responsiveness and convenience of the user interface, and makes recent Genode features like CPU-load balancing and screen capturing available to Sculpt components. Let's have a look at the most prominent changes. Continue...

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    Pine fun - Device access from the user level


    Genode's peripheral device drivers live outside the kernel and have the form of regular user-level components. This article presents how the device-hardware access works under these conditions, while taking the general-purpose I/O pins of the Pine-A64-LTS single-board computer as playground. Continue...

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    Pine fun - Kernel packaging and testing


    With our toes still a bit frozen from testing the waters of the user land, we now take the remaining steps towards a cultivated Genode life, largely automating our work flow, packaging the kernel, and testing the platform like there is no tomorrow. Continue...

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    Pine fun - Excursion to the user land


    Equipped with the rudimentary debugging skills presented in the previous article, it is time to conquer the remaining stumbling blocks on our way to the user land. Continue...

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    Pine fun - How did we come here?


    Some kids from the city once told me about programs called "debuggers". They also use a technology named "green light" to cross the streets. City kids. As we are still far away from urban territory, we are in need of the rural ways of debugging. What are our options? Continue...

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    Pine fun - Kernel skeleton


    Of the several kernels supported by the Genode OS framework, the so-called base-hw kernel is our go-to microkernel for ARM-based devices. Section Execution on bare hardware of the Genode Foundations book goes into detail about its underlying software design. This article describes the process of porting this kernel to a new board, specifically the Pine-A64-LTS single-board computer. Continue...

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    Pine fun - Bare-metal serial output


    For low-level kernel-bootstrapping work, we need a primitive way to print debug messages over a serial connection. This article goes through the steps of executing custom code on bare-metal hardware with no kernel underneath, and attaining serial output by poking UART device registers directly. Continue...

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    Warming up for some Pine fun


    I recently got my hands on a Pinephone along with a Pine64 board and have the aspiration to bring Sculpt OS to this platform. This is a very welcome opportunity to document the process of such a porting effort. Continue...

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    What's new in Sculpt OS 20.08


    The version 20.08 of Sculpt OS has just become available. Let's have a look at the most interesting changes and new features. Continue...

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    Re-stacking the GUI stack


    As I am currently right in the middle of a far-reaching rework of Genode's low-level GUI stack, I'd like to share a bit of background behind this work: the Why, the What, and the How. Continue...

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    Autoconf support is landing in Goa, Git comes to life


    I'd like to share a few recent developments around Goa, which is a new tool for porting, building, and packaging Genode components. With autoconf, a third build system enters the picture, which, in turn, paves the ground for bringing software like Git over to Genode. Continue...

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    Porting Sculpt (1) - Preparations


    In my previous article, I presented an overview of undertaking the port of Sculpt OS to another SoC. Today, let us take a closer look at the first step - taking technical and non-technical preparations. Continue...

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    What does it take to bring Sculpt OS to another ARM SoC?


    Since I wrote the article about the ARM SoC landscape from Genode's perspective, I got repeatedly asked about the principle steps needed to enable Sculpt OS for various ARM-based hardware platforms. Drawing from our experience with the initial port of Sculpt OS to a 64-bit ARM device in Genode version 20.02, let me try to provide a rough guide for the steps needed to port Sculpt OS to a new ARM-based hardware platform. Continue...

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    Compartmentalized window management in Sculpt OS


    When using Sculpt OS day-in day-out, the simple default window manager as introduced in the manual is quite limiting. This article presents an alternative that is able to remember window positions across reboots, swap out window decorations on the fly, and that empowers the user to modify the window layout directly via a textual interface. Continue...

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    Goa updated to Genode 20.02


    Now that Genode 20.02 is out of the door, it's a good time to update Goa to the match the most recent Genode version. Continue...

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    FOSDEM 2020 in review


    FOSDEM and the microkernel developer room in particular was certainly one of the highlights of the year. In this posting, I share my personal impression of the event and a few links of interest. Continue...

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    Sculpt OS - FOSDEM 2020 Edition


    In my talk at FOSDEM, I present a brand new version of Sculpt OS. It is a preview of the upcoming release. For those of you who are eager to play with this version, I have put a downloadable image online. Continue...

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    Goa - publishing packages


    In the previous articles (1, 2, 3) about Goa, we created a minimalistic Unix system by combining Genode's ready-to-use building blocks with universally loved GNU software. Now it's time to publish our little creation so that it can be deployed directly on Sculpt OS. Continue...

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    Pending Sculpt user-interface changes


    During our road-map discussion, I vaguely mentioned my plan to change the administrative user interface of Sculpt OS. This post is a response to John's inquiry for more details. Continue...

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    Goa - sticking together a little Unix (part 3)


    In the previous article, we went from a first life sign of the bash shell to an interactive scenario. Today, we spice up our little system with the magic potion of Unix, namely the presence of a collection of useful utilities and a mechanism to combine them. If someone asked me for one word condensing the essence of Unix, it would be "pipe". Off we go, plumbing! Continue...

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    Goa - sticking together a little Unix (part 2)


    Let us transcend the simplistic bash scenario created in part 1 and enter the stage of an interactive system. Continue...

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    Goa - sticking together a little Unix (part 1)


    Whereas the first article about Goa was concerned with building software using commodity build systems, this article takes you on a ride of creating a small Unix OS out of Genode's ready-to-use building blocks, publishing the result, and deploying it on top of Sculpt OS. Continue...

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    Goa - streamlining the development of Genode applications


    The development of applications for Genode used to require a lot of learning about Genode's way of organizing source code, our custom build system, and the use of run scripts. With Goa, I introduce a new tool that aims at largely removing these burdens from application developers. Continue...

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    The ARM SoC landscape from Genode's perspective


    We get repeatedly asked for our opinion about ARM system-on-chips (SoCs) suitable for the use with Genode. Even though Genode supports the ARM architecture since 2009, the answer has remained anything but simple. This article presents constraints faced by a small player attempting to realize an ARM-based product that deviates from the beaten track of using a Linux-based OS. It should not be regarded as ground truth but rather as the subjective perspective of Genode Labs. Continue...

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    New Challenges ahead


    We maintain a collection of future project ideas on a dedicated website. Today, I reviewed and updated the topics. Let me present the ideas. Continue...

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    Speaking of Security


    The term security is overloaded to a point that makes it almost meaningless. On our website, we speak of Genode as a technology for building highly secure operating systems. But what does that even mean? Let's take a closer look at the security landscape at large, and our focus in particular. Continue...

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    Copy and paste with Sculpt OS 19.07


    The upcoming Sculpt OS version 19.07 allows the user to copy and paste text between virtual machines, terminal windows, Qt5 applications, and the administrative interface (Leitzentrale). This article sheds light on the underlying mechanism and its security considerations, shows how to configure subsystems to use the new feature, and covers a few caveats you may encounter. Continue...

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    Resurrecting Escape Paint with Hatari


    A recent series of events flared up my enthusiasm for Atari home computers. I just couldn't help but draft a plan of bridging this nostalgic trip with our modern-day Sculpt OS. Continue...

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    C++ and SPARK as a continuum


    SPARK is an Ada-inspired programming language for high-assurance computing. It was designed for the application of formal verification methods to real-world software. The prospect of bug-free software is music to our ears! I wonder, can there be a love affair between SPARK and Genode's predominant implementation language, C++? Continue...

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    Sculpt as a Community Experience


    We just released the fourth version of Sculpt OS today. It is subtitled "Sculpt as a Community Experience". In this posting, I'd like to explain what's behind this slogan. Continue...

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    A convenient shortcut for working with test packages


    The train to FOSDEM was the perfect setting for creating a dirty little tool for quickly building and running single test packages. Continue...

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    Genode's Conscious C++ dialect


    C++ is a power tool that scales from embedded systems to the most complex software stacks imaginable. When we started Genode in 2006, the feature set of the language was extremely persuasive. It strikes a great balance of giving the programmer full control whenever needed while also featuring means of expressing high-level software designs. This power is a two-edged sword though. In this series of postings, I'd like to share how we learned to handle it without regrets. Continue...

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    A new place for sharing Genode-related stories


    Genodians.org presents ideas, announcements, experience stories, and tutorials around Genode, written by people like you and me. Genode users and developers are very welcome to join our tribe of authors! Continue...